The Navy stated explosives consultants boarded the ship to evaluate the harm, together with a 30-inch-wide (76-centimeter) gap punched in its facet, and to gather particles and bomb residue. The proof was taken to a lab on the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet within the Gulf Arab nation of Bahrain.
Navy investigators concluded that the drone used was an Iranian Shahed-136, the identical type of bomb-carrying drone Iran has equipped to Russia in its conflict on Ukraine. Iranian drones had been utilized by Yemeni rebels to assault Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates earlier this yr, the Navy stated.
“The Iranian attack on a commercial tanker transiting international waters was deliberate, flagrant and dangerous, endangering the lives of the ship’s crew and destabilizing maritime security in the Middle East,” stated Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Japanese Pacific Delivery, which is an organization in the end owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. Israeli and U.S. officers stated on the time of the assault that they suspected Iran was behind it.
Iran has denied any involvement within the assault, with its mission to the United Nations dismissing the allegations as “false news” in a press release final week. There was no speedy remark from Iranian officers on the U.S. probe.
Final yr, a suspected Iranian drone strike hit the Israeli-associated oil tanker Mercer Avenue off Oman, killing two individuals onboard. In current months, Iran has lashed out at its perceived enemies overseas amid monthslong nationwide protests calling for the overthrow of its ruling clerics.